Now he knew, he thought. She was timidly passionate, uncertain, too willing to please, frightened of her own sexuality. Probably never been able to be herself, he thought. Always busy pleasing her partner. Not an unusual circumstance. Well, that would change.
He watched her as she slept, her long hair over her shoulder, covering one breast. He felt overwhelmed at the beauty of a woman’s body, the grace, sensuousness and silky texture. Yes, it would be all too easy to fall in love with her. He ran his fingers lightly down her face, down over her breasts and stomach, down her leg and back up the inner side of her thigh. She mumbled in her sleep and shifted slightly, drawing up one leg and letting it fall aside. He began to caress her, slowly and lightly, almost willing her into a gentle, sensuous wakefulness.
She had been confused at first, and pretty uptight. Most guys are pretty blunt about what they want and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure them out. A bit of sex and they don’t call in the morning. He didn’t give much of a clue. In fact, he was so stand-offish that she wondered if he really wanted to go to bed with her. For the first time in her life, she had to do the pushing. It felt funny, being aggressive, but kind of good. If only I could be as assertive in bed as I am at work, she thought. He let her take the initiative, made her take it, and for a change she hadn’t felt used. God, it would be so easy to love him! But what would he think when he found out she was a police officer?
She had drifted off to sleep and into a weird dream. She was back in uniform, the days before she made detective, walking down the street with her partner. Every time she looked at him, he was somebody else. Her father, her brother, her real partner, the old butcher who lived down the block. She didn’t know who the hell she was with. She wondered if she kept changing too. When the partner looked at her, did he keep seeing different women? “Who are you,” she whispered to her partner, to herself. Deliberately she turned to her partner and took his head between her hands, staring intently into his face. It kept alternating between being a mirror and being a face, and the face was different each time, different men, different faces in the mirror. The face in front of her seemed to dissolve and reform into Alan’s face. She felt dizzy and took a deep breath. That was when she awoke, writhing and gasping as her body shook under his touch.
She lay back, totally exhausted, satiated. He didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone look so utterly happy, and it made him feel ten feet tall. “I hope I’ll always be able to make you feel that good,” he said.
She reached up and drew him down, kissing his face gently. “Hold me, darling. I’m scared.”
He smiled. “We have all the time in the world to be safe. Days, years. You don’t need to be afraid of me.”
“It’s not you I’m afraid of,” Lisa said. “I’m afraid of falling in love. Afraid of it all not working out, afraid of getting hurt.” She remembered how she’d felt when the one serious relationship of her life had collapsed. Betrayed, used, dirty, stupid.
“Or afraid of your feelings?” Alan asked.
Lisa pondered that. Yes, at bottom, that was what scared her, the intensity of her own feelings. “How in hell did you ever learn so much about women?” she asked. “No, don’t tell me. I’d just get jealous.”
He laughed. “No need for jealousy, love. Women and men aren’t really that different. We’re brought up in a society that doesn’t have much tolerance for real human emotions. Sometimes it’s tough to learn to let ourselves be ourselves. Do you know I’m in love with you?”
“I was afraid of that,” she said. “What’s worse is that I think I’m in love with you too. Yesterday we were almost strangers, barely friends. Today we’re in love. What in hell happened to us?”
“We happened to us. You happened to me and I happened to you. Delightful, isn’t it?”
Lisa laughed. “I guess I’m not used to looking at people as events. But you definitely are an event. And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” She sat up and kissed him. “Now I’ve got to run home and get ready for work. Can I come back here tonight?”
“If you don’t, I’m going to come looking for you. I fully intend for you to share my humble abode. Besides, you’ve got a great body.”
“You bastard,” she said, “just when I have to leave. You wait, I’ll get even tonight. But I’ll be late. I have a Karate class.”
“You’re learning Karate? Good idea for a woman in New York.”
She stared at him in exasperation. “I’m teaching it.”
“Oink!” he said apologetically. “Remind me never to make you mad.”
She struggled into her jeans and reached for her tee shirt and bra. Alan sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her to him, raining kisses on her. She backed away and wiggled provocatively as she finished dressing. “See you tonight, darling.” She licked her lips suggestively and slipped out the door.